Oct 8th, 2021

During the early days of the internet, Hotmail and Yahoo were more or less the default email addresses of many people around the world. They were free to use and were extremely popular, so why not? Then Google came along and after dominating the search engine market, they launched Gmail.

It proved to be yet another successful product because despite it being invite-only at the start, many were eager to sign up and tried to get invites wherever they could. One of the upsides of Gmail is that it offered users a ton of space compared to other platforms, which quickly attracted users with large inboxes.

Over the years, Gmail has become the dominant email platform of choice used alike by regular folks, schools, and workplaces. If you are using Gmail for personal or business, then here are some awesome tips and tricks that will help you master Google’s email platform.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time when using software, this is why you often see professionals who use photo or video editing software press hotkeys instead of clicking the interface. Gmail offers users similar functionality through hotkeys of their own. To find out all the various hotkeys Gmail has to offer, simply log into your account and press Shift + ? to pull up the cheat sheet.

Multiple user accounts

If you happen to have multiple Gmail accounts, maybe one for work and one personal, you can actually gather all of them together so that switching between your inboxes will be a piece of cake. Simply click your profile photo at the top right corner of Gmail, and click “Add another account”.

Once you’ve logged into the other account, you can click your profile photo and select which account you want to access and it will open in a new tab.

Using third-party email accounts

While Google would obviously prefer if you used their Gmail.com domain, Gmail as an email platform supports third-party accounts. This includes other email services like Yahoo, iCloud, or Outlook. If you happen to know the POP3 details of an email account, you can even add custom domains. Go to your Gmail Settings and under “Accounts and import”, click “Add a mail account” and follow the instructions.

Undo sending a message

If you fired off an email in haste and forgot to add an attachment or if you changed your mind or sent it to the wrong address, don’t worry. Whenever you send an email, you’ll get a small notification at the bottom left corner of the app that lets you undo it. This duration is usually set to 5 seconds by default, but you can change it.

Click the cog wheel icon, click See all settings. Under the General tab, scroll down and look for “Undo Send” and change the duration. You’ll be able to choose either 5, 10, 20, or 30 second delays.

Right-clicking emails

While Gmail is accessed through the web, it actually supports its own right-click menu. This means that regardless if you’re using Chrome, Safari, Edge, and so on, right-clicking an email will let you interact with it using Gmail’s own settings. This will also allow you to archive a message, move it, snooze it, delete it, or label it without actually opening the message itself.

Manage your emails with labels

If you get a lot of emails, labeling them can make it easier to sort. Simply right-click the email and select “Label as” or open the email and click the Label button and choose the label you want. Labels are essentially like folders and you can set a different color for each label so that it’ll be easier to differentiate from the other emails.

Automatically manage your emails

Speaking of labels, you can actually get Gmail to automatically label new (and existing) emails by using filters. Go to Gmail’s settings, click “Filters and Block Addresses”, scroll down and click “Create a new filter”. You can then specify the parameters like the sender, keywords, and etc., and then you can also select a label to apply to all new and existing emails that meet those parameters.

You’ll have to create a new filter each time you want to filter or label different types of emails, but once you’re setup, it’s actually a breeze.

Search for emails

You might have noticed that at the top of the Gmail interface, there’s a search bar. You could enter basic search words to look for emails, but if you want a more advanced search, click the icon that looks like a bunch of sliders. This will pull up the advanced search feature where you can then search for emails based on the sender, subject, date, attachment, and even email size.

Check which apps have access to Gmail

If you’ve used Gmail to sign up for apps and online services, you might want to review this list every now and then and to clean it up, especially if you haven’t used a particular service for a long time. Go to your Google Account security page and under “Signing in to other sites”, click “Signing in with Google”.

You’ll now see a list of apps or services that you have used your Google/Gmail account to sign in with, and clicking on the individual apps or services will let you see more details or remove access to it.

Send a scheduled email

If you’re too busy and are worried you might forget to send an important email, or maybe you just want to send an email on the day that you’re taking leave, you can actually schedule it in advance. Simply compose an email like you normally would, but instead of clicking Send, click the downwards arrow next to the Send button and select “Schedule send”. Pick and time and date and you’re all set.

Creating confidential, self-destructing emails

Sometimes emails might contain information that you’d rather not take the chance that it might get leaked, so you can send emails using Gmail’s Confidential Mode. What this does is it creates an email that will be locked behind a passcode and will automatically expire after a set period of time.

The person receiving the email will not be able to forward, copy, print, or download the email. To send emails in Confidential Mode, create a new email and click the icon that looks like a padlock with a clock on it. Set the expiry date and choose if you want to password protect the email and then click “Save”.

Let people know you’re away

If you’re on vacation, the last thing you want is to bother with emails from work or school, but you don’t want to come across as being rude that you might be ignoring the other person’s email. This is where the vacation responder feature comes in handy, where you can see a duration where you’ll be away and whenever you receive a new email, an automated reply will be sent to let them know you’re on vacation.

Go to Gmail’s Settings and under the General tab, scroll down to “Vacation responder”. Set the duration that you’ll be away, followed by an email subject and message which will be sent to incoming emails.

Send an email from a different address

Say you’re on your personal Gmail account but you remember you need to fire off a work email. You could switch accounts over, but if you’d rather not waste time, you can set up different addresses that you can choose to send from. This means that you could be logged into your personal account, but emails sent from it could be from your work email.

In Gmail’s Settings, go to Accounts and Import and under “Send mail as”, click “Add another email address” and follow the instructions on setting it up. Now when you send an email, you can choose the other address from the list, but this is manual so you’ll have to remember to do it yourself otherwise it will use the default address to send it.

Start a video call

Google has started to incorporate more features from its other productivity apps and services into Gmail, trying to make it a one-stop shop for all your productivity needs. This includes being able to start a video call with your contacts.

Assuming the contact is part of your Google Chat list, just hover your mouse over their name and click “Start video call”.

Block spam emails

All of us are subject to spam emails, whether it be from retail websites sending out unwanted newsletters or promotional emails. If you’d rather not see these emails anymore, open up the email, click the three dot icon at the top right corner of the email and click “Block”. Now whenever you receive emails from this address, it will automatically be sent to your spam folder.

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